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Journal Paper Accepted: The need for holistic enterprise control assessment methods for the future electricity grid

The LIINES is happy to announce the publication of the journal article The need for holistic enterprise control assessment methods for the future electricity grid, by Prof. Amro M. Farid (Dartmouth), Bo Jiang (MIT), Aramazd Muzhikyan (Dartmouth), and Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi (MIT) in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

In this comprehensive literature-based study, the LIINES presents a logical case for integrating power grid assessment methods into a holistic enterprise control framework.  Such a framework is explicitly techno-economic and merges methods power systems engineering and economics.   To support the argument, the LIINES has conducted the most comprehensive review of renewable energy integration studies completed to date.

The paper discusses the need for change in the assessment of the electricity grid as a result of five driving forces.  The driving forces are identified as: decarbonization, growth of electricity demand, transportation electrification, electric power deregulation, and increasing numbers of responsive (“smart”) consumers.  These five drivers require the steadily increasing penetration of solar and wind generation as well as evolving capabilities to support demand side management for the tremendous diversity of loads that connect to the electrical grid.  The integration of these three new grid technologies of renewable energy, electric vehicles, and demand side resources ultimately imposes fundamental changes to the grid’s structure and behavior.

The paper argues that the future electric grid’s needs for reliability, cost efficiency and sustainability necessitates a holistic assessment approach.  Figure 1 shows a guiding structure that leads to five techno-economic control objectives.  This work also uses five lifecycle properties to integrate rather than decompose the engineering design.  The lifecycle properties core to the power grid are dispatchability, flexibility, forecastability, stability, and resilience. The use of these five properties avoids overlap in function of solutions.

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Figure 1: Guiding Structure of Argument

Using such a holistic paradigm for techno-economic assessment, the journal paper conducts the most comprehensive review of renewable energy studies completed to date. It found several limitations to the existing renewable energy integration studies. Firstly, in order to address the holistic nature of the power grid, the real potential of demand side resources needs to be included. Additionally, for power grid balancing, validated simulations rather than statistical methods based on questionable assumptions need to be used.  Furthermore, the consistency between future development of the real market structure and modeling methods needs to be assured. Finally, the investment costs related to the support of the future power grid need to be considered in simulation.

Thus, the paper concludes based on the defined model requirements and the assessment of the current literature, that a framework for holistic power grid enterprise control assessment needs to satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Allows for an evolving mixture of generation and demand as dispatchable energy resources
  2. Allows for an evolving mixture of generation and demand as variable energy resources
  3. Allows for the simultaneous study of transmission and distribution systems
  4. Allows for the time domain simulation of the convolution of relevant grid enterprise control functions
  5. Allows for the time domain simulation of power grid topology reconfiguration in operation time scale
  6. Specifically addresses the holistic dynamic properties of dispatchability, flexibility, forecastability, stability, and resilience
  7. Represents potential changes in enterprise grid control functions and technologies as impacts on these dynamic properties
  8. Accounts for the consequent changes in operating cost and the required investment costs.

These requirements have been realized in a power grid enterprise control simulator that was used for an extensive study of renewable energy integration in the power grid [Link 1], [Link 2].  The simulator includes the physical electrical grid layer and incorporates primary, secondary, and tertiary control functions. This model fits the requirements of the holistic enterprise control method as defined previously.

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 Figure 2: The Enterprise Control Power Grid Simulator

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LIINES Website: http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines

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Prof. Amro M. Farid presents at Transactive Energy Systems Conference

On Tuesday May 17, 2016, Prof. Amro M. Farid presented at the Third International Conference and Workshop on Transactive Energy Systems in Portland, Oregon.   The presentation entitled:  “Microgrids as a Key Enabling Transactive Energy Technology for Resilient Self-Healing Power Grid Operation” featured some of the LIINES’ recent research on resilience in power systems.

Building upon the recent IEEE Vision for Smart Grid Controls, the presentation advocated the concept of resilience self-healing operation in future power grids.  This continues to be an important area of LIINES research and has been the subject of several recent blogposts.  (See here, here and here).  The concept of resilient power systems effectively means that healthy regions of the grid can continue to operate while disrupted and perturbed regions bring themselves back to normal operation.   A key technology enabling this resilience is microgrids because they are often able to island themselves from the rest of the grid and continue to operate successfully.   In this presentation, the microgrids were controlled with a transactive energy control architecture that couples several control layers to achieve both technical reliability as well as cost effectiveness.  Furthermore, the presentation showed the ability for several microgrids to self-coordinate so as to demonstrate “strength-in-numbers” when adverse power grid conditions like net load ramps and variability arise.   The presentation concluded with the need for significant new research where transactive energy control concepts are intertwined with recent work on power grid enterprise control.

 

In depth materials on LIINES smart power grid research can be found on the LIINES website.

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Journal Paper accepted at IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics – An Axiomatic Design of a Multi-Agent Reconfigurable Mechatronic System Architecture

The LIINES is pleased to announce the acceptance of the paper “An Axiomatic Design of a Multi-Agent Reconfigurable Mechatronic System Architecture” to the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics. The paper is authored by Prof. Amro M. Farid and Prof. Luis Ribeiro.

Recent trends in manufacturing require production facilities to produce a wide variety of products with an increasingly shorter product lifecycle. These trends force production facilities to adjust and redesign production lines on a more regular basis.

Reconfigurable manufacturing systems are designed for rapid change in structure; in both hardware and software components to address the required changes in production capacity and functionality.

Qualitative methods have recently been successful in achieving reconfigurability through multi-agent systems (MAS). However, their implementation remains limited, as an unambiguous quantitative reference architecture for reconfigurability has not yet been developed.

A design methodology based on quantitative reconfigurability measurement would facilitate a logical, and seamless transition between the five stages of the MAS design methodology, as shown below.

DesMethodology

Previous work on the reconfigurability of automated manufacturing systems has shown that reconfigurability depends primarily on architectural decisions made in stages 1, 2, 3, and 5. Operational performance of the manufacturing system after the reconfiguration is also important, but is often overlooked by the existing literature. As a result, it’s not clear:

  1. The degree to which existing designs have achieved their intended level of reconfigurability.
  2. Which systems are quantitatively more reconfigurable.
  3. How these designs may overcome their inherent design limitations to achieve greater reconfigurability in subsequent design iterations.

In order to address the previously mentioned issues with existing design methodologies, this paper develops a multi-agent system reference architecture for reconfigurable manufacturing systems driven by a quantitative and formal design approach, directly in line with the above Figure.

The paper uses Axiomatic Design for Large Flexible Engineering Systems to support a well-conceptualized architecture, which is necessary for excellent production system performance. Additionally, Axiomatic Design highlights potential design flaws at an early conceptual stage. This results in the first formal and quantitative reference architecture based on rigorous mathematics.

About the Author

Wester C.H. Schoonenberg completed his B.Sc. in Systems Engineering and Policy Analysis Management at Delft University of Technology in 2014. After his bachelors’ degree, Wester started his graduate work for the LIINES at Masdar Institute, which he continues as a doctoral student at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in 2015. Currently, Wester is working on the integrated operation of electrical grids and production systems with a special interest in Zero Carbon Emission Manufacturing Systems.

A full reference list of LIINES publications can be found here:
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Energy-Water-Food Nexus Research Integral to the IEEE Smart Cities Conference

In addition to its overall success, the IEEE Smart Cities Conference also presented significant research on the Energy-Water-Food Nexus.
On Monday, a two-hour energy-water nexus special session was held featuring multiple aspects of LIINES research.
  • The presentation entitled “Extending the Energy-Water Nexus Reference Architecture to the Sustainable Development of Agriculture, Industry  & Commerce.” provided a high level overview of the types of couplings that exist not just within the energy and water infrastructure but also within end-uses in the agricultural, industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.  Water and energy balance principles were used to systematically highlight the existence of trade-off decisions with the energy-water nexus.
  • The presentation entitled “Extending the Utility Analysis and Integration Model at the Energy Water Nexus” featured LIINES research done in collaboration with the Water Environment Foundation (WEF).   This work argued the need for integrated enterprise management systems within the water utility sector to support sustainable decision-making.
  • The presentation entitled “The Role of Resource Efficient Decentralized Wastewater Treatment in Smart Cities” featured LIINES research done in collaboration with the German startup Ecoglobe.  This work argued the need for resource-efficient decentralized wastewater treatment facilities as a key enabling technology in the energy-water-food nexus.  It then presented Ecoglobe’s WaterbaseTM as such a technology.
On Wednesday, a three hour workshop entitled “Smart Food at the University of Guadalajara (UDG)”  was lead by Diana Romero and Prof. Victor Larios.   It featured the university’s efforts to bring hydroponic farming to future cities.  The workshop also highlighted the UDG’s collaboration with the MIT Media Laboratory’s City Farm Initiative.
Both sessions drew participation of 40-50 conference attendees and active dialogue during the Q&A sessions.  It is clear that a smart city — by all definitions — is one that actively manages the supply and demand for energy, water, and food as an integral activity.   These two sessions demonstrated this need and looks to become a central theme within the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative and its flagship international conferences.

A full reference list of energy-water nexus research at the LIINES can be found on the LIINES publication page:  http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines

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IEEE Smart Cities Conference Establishes Itself as Premier Conference

Several days ago, we wrote a blog post to announce the beginning of the First IEEE Smart Cities Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.   Now that the conference draws to a close, we can firmly say that the conference by all measures has been a tremendous success.  The conference had over 500 registered participants drawing from academia, industry, and government — fully in agreement with the triple-helix model of innovation.  From industry, dozens attended from IBM and Intel alone.   The conference also benefited from the presence of the Governor of Jalisco, The Honorable, Aristóteles Sandoval, as well as several generous industrial sponsors.
The conference also distinguished itself for its focus on civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and innovation.   Aside from the ample opportunity for networking and lively conversation, the conference featured a “Student Hackathon”.   For two days, student teams were challenged to develop, in real-time, cloud-based Smart City Apps on iOS and Android platforms.  The winning teams developed apps for smart transportation, healthcare, and community service and won monetary prizes of 500 & 1000USD.  The LIINES wishes these teams all the best as they form small businesses to bring their apps to the market.
With such participation, and despite the landfall of Hurricane Patricia only 24 hours earlier, it is clear that the First International IEEE Smart Cities Conference has established itself as a premier international conference and the flagship of the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative.  Please do stay tuned for announcements for the 2nd International IEEE Smart Cities Conference to be held in the idyllic mountain city of Trento, Italy in September 2016.  Interested readers can join the IEEE Smart City Initiative and its associated LinkedIn group.
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Searching for Smart City LIINES

Today, Monday October 26th 2015, the first International Smart Cities Conference begins in Guadalajara, Mexico and will continue until Wednesday October 28th.  It is the premier annual conference sponsored by the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative.  Smart Cities are innovative, conceptual, and city-wide technology-human-infrastructure integration platforms.  The conference brings a broad perspective to Smart Cities drawing from a variety of disciplines.  This is evidenced by its 9 tracks including:
  1. Smart Grids
  2. Internet of Things (IoT)
  3. Smart Homes & Buildings
  4. Smart Transport
  5. Smart Environment,
  6. Smart Manufacturing & Logistics
  7. Open Data
  8. Smart Health
  9. Smart Citizens
Here, at the LIINES, the concept of Smart Cities is one to which we have been paying attention for quite some time.  Naturally, with the four research themes of Smart Power Grids, Energy-Water Nexus, Transportation-Electrification Systems, and Industrial Energy Management, we believe that the LIINES has a lot to contribute to the development of intelligent infrastructure in cities of the future.   Prof. Amro M. Farid has been nominated to the IEEE Smart Cities Conference steering committee and also serves as the Workshop & Tutorials co-chair.  He is also track chair for the Smart Grids track to be held all day today.
Interested readers can join the IEEE Smart City Initiative and its associated LinkedIn group.   Additionally, the conference organizers will be live-tweeting on Twitter #IEEESmartCities, #ISC2.  Join us in the developing the Smart Cities of the Future.
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The All-New Dartmouth LIINES Website

In  a recent blogpost, we wrote how the LIINES is moving to Darmouth.  Naturally, when a lab moves so does its website!   The new LIINES website will now be found at http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines but will continue to be mirrored at the original MIT website (http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu) in recognition of our continued collaborative research there.
We look forward to updating the LIINES website to reflect the lab’s continued development.
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The LIINES seeks Quantitatively-Minded Dartmouth Undergrad for Smart Grid Research Competition

The LIINES seeks 1-2 quantitatively-minded Dartmouth undergrads for participation in a smart grid research competition.  This work is a direct extension of our prior work in the smart power grid research theme.   The competition involves multi-agent system negotiation techniques as applied to power system operations and management.  The work can serve as part of a senior thesis or an undergraduate research opportunity.
The successful student(s) will be driven by a sincere interest in the smart grid field and have an affinity to object-oriented programming.   Engineering science or computing science majors are preferred although preparations in heavily computational disciplines such as physics, applied mathematics, and economics are welcome.  A prior portfolio in an object-oriented programming language is required.  C++ is specifically preferred.   More senior undergraduate students are preferred although initiative, interest, and programming fluency will be the determining criteria.

Interested students may contact Prof. Amro M. Farid for further information and an interview. 

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The LIINES is moving to Dartmouth

After four years at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems is moving to the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth!  The move comes as Amro M. Farid assumes his new appointment as an Associate Professor of Engineering at the Thayer School.
As one of the prestigious Ivy League universities, Dartmouth is consistently ranked amongst America’s top dozen universities.  Moreover, the Thayer School of Engineering has several features that when taken together make a well-customized home for the LIINES.   It:
As the LIINES makes its move to Dartmouth, its important to reflect upon some of its achievements in the last four years.  From its initial focus on smart power grids, it’s research program has expanded to address the application of control, automation and information technology to intelligent energy systems.  This has meant the development of three additional research themes namely:
These efforts have lead to several notable outputs.  In research publications, these include 17 journal papers since January 2014 with an average impact factor of 3.874, 2 books, 4 book chapters and 43 conference papers.  In teaching, two new courses were developed ESM 501 System Architecture and ESM 616 Techno-Economic Analysis in Power System Operations.  We are happy that students at the Masdar Institute consistently rated both of these courses highly.  The LIINES has also increasingly taken on an international profile with active leadership in the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS) Technical Committee on Smart Grids, the IEEE Systems, Man & Cybernetics (SMC) Society Technical Committee on Intelligent Industrial Systems, and the Council of Engineering System Universities (CESUN).
Of course, the LIINES’s productivity is largely due to its students.  And so this is also a moment to recognize their hard work and dedication.  This began with the 2013 cohort  Apoorva Santhosh, Reshma Francy, Reem Al Junaibi, Aramazd Muzhikyan continued to William Lubega in 2014 and more recently Deema Allan, Wester Schoonenberg, and Halima Abdulla.  Thanks to the support of Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi, their MIT student colleagues Hussein Abdelhalim, Fang-Yu Liu, and Bo Jiang have also been instrumental in fostering a collaborative international atmosphere despite the time zone hurdles.  Each of these students has made strong research contributions to the growth of the lab and have gone on to successful careers beyond graduation.
Going forward, the LIINES will continue to work in the intelligent energy systems area as part of the Thayer School’s commitment to energy and complex systems.   That said, the LIINES members at Masdar will remain as such and will continue their research in the spirit of international collaboration as their MIT student colleagues have done in the past.  Dr. Toufic Mezher, Professor of Engineering Systems & Management has kindly agreed to coordinate the LIINES student members as they complete their degrees.   Naturally, we will also continue to  collaboration with the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department and more specifically Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi, the Mechatronics Research Laboratory and the Center for Clean Water & Energy.
We’re looking forward to an exciting new 2015-16 academic year at the LIINES.  Stay tuned for more!
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